When was the last time the Police came knocking on your door after 10pm?
When was the last time the police came knocking on your door after 10pm? I can’t remember the last time, but I have no reason to expect bad news so I thought nothing of it last night.
Joe had recently made a discovery of a cat inside a foreclosed house on our block and had called the police in to rescue him more than a week ago. For all I know he was stopping over to follow up on the neighbor’s abandoned cat.
Last night Joe and I had grilled some chicken and spent a beautiful night on the deck overlooking what’s left of the river. It was great. We had just decided the mosquitoes were too much to handle and had gone inside about an hour earlier.
I was closest to the door when the bell rang. I thought to myself, “who the hell is coming over after 10pm?” I have a good relationship with the Glendale Police, so when he flashed his badge and I saw it was a detective, I thought nothing of it…glad to see them watching out for our neighborhood. He asked if Mr Joe Conway was home and I said yes; let me go get him for you. I casually strolled to the living room and told Joe to go to the door, there is a cop here to see you.
I tried to restrain the dog as Joe stepped outside to chat with the cop. Rusty wouldn’t be quiet, so I let him outside with Joe and the Detective. Just as I opened the door, I heard the detective utter the words, “Your brother Tom passed away today”.
Wow, that was not at all what I expected to hear him say.
He didn’t have any of the details, but had a phone number in CO for the coroner’s office. He gave the number to Joe and offered to stay until Joe had made the call. Joe immediately went into his crisis management mode where he is able to remain calm and ask all the right questions. He is amazing even under extreme pressure. He questioned the coroner for whatever information he could provide. Apparently Tom had been riding his motorcycle and was riding alone when he went off the road. He had multiple injuries to his head and body which caused his death immediately. Of course the next question from Joe’s mouth was, “Was he wearing his helmet?” The answer was something like, His helmet was present but not on his head when they found him. We are still awaiting details of the autopsy and accident report, but apparently his helmet was on but didn’t stay on during the crash. Maybe a poorly fastened chin strap?
Joe informed us that Tom was always scared to death to ride, and had just recently started to ride after he started dating Judy, who rode a Harley. He had been riding a lot lately and had developed better riding skills, plus he always wore his helmet as far as any of us knew. When Joe and I were out in CO visiting last summer, we witnessed both Tom and Judy riding safely with helmets.
Joe started the phone calls right away. OK, so it was after 11pm by this point, but he started calling everyone in the family to let them know what happened. He had calls in to all of his siblings before he went to bed and had personally spoken with most of them. (he is the youngest of 9 children, 7 of which are still living) I’m actually not sure how much sleep Joe got last night because he said he couldn’t sleep when I went to bed, and he was up before me this morning.
I feel awful for Joe, who loves to ride his BMW motorcycle whenever possible. I think he and Judy both had encouraged Tom to learn to ride because they enjoyed it so much.
As Joe was getting the information over the phone, I was chatting with the cop and realized we had just seen one another at a volunteer event for the local running club. I knew he looked familiar from somewhere.
I really respect the police for doing a thankless job. They don’t usually get to give out good news, just bad news when someone dies or is critically injured. It’s not a position I would like to be in because I like to focus on the positive, so much so that it never crossed my mind that when a cop comes to the door late at night, its probably not good news.
I’m going to stick with the positive attitude and assume it’s all good, until someone tells me otherwise. Even then, it’s great to try to find a positive spin for any circumstance.
When Joe’s Mom died last summer, it was a beautiful experience seeing someone truly enjoy life to its fullest. Yes it was sad to see her go, but she taught us all so much about life and about death. Joe was by her side for weeks and I had the pleasure of hearing him deliver the eulogy for Mom. I couldn’t have been prouder of him. I feel bad that he has to handle yet another funeral arrangement just one year later, but I know he will do a great job for his Bro. He may be the youngest, but he is the glue that holds his family together.
I’m proud to call him my husband Joe!
- Motorcyclist Dies in Helmet Law Protest Ride (dontpetthatwombat.com)